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WAITING FOR TOMMY: ADAM FORTIER
BY RICHARD JOHNSTON

RICHARD: There was a feeling that a license will sell any old tosh. That it doesn't matter who works on it, that it will sell unaffected. How has recent experience changed that view?
ADAM: The direct market is an interesting place to be. Retailers decide the orders based upon their information, and publishers print their numbers based upon that. When these things were first released, retailers over ordered. There's a great example of this with Transformers : Armada #1. We had huge success with Transformers : Generation 1 , so I'm guessing retailers felt that another Transformers series would sell just as well. When we got our orders in, they were around 150K , and this was for a comic based on the children's animated series, as well as toys. Not only did I not expect those orders, I knew that they were too high by far, and would only serve to have a whole bunch of product sitting on the shelves. Unfortunately, there's not much to do in that situation, as we can't under ship the books, because retailers are expecting a certain number. This example shows the pitfalls of the direct market, and it's something that licensed comics have to live with. After the boom of the licensed comic, retailers have been burned a number of times, and now will under order a book, just to be on the safe side. Again, there's nothing that we as publishers can do in this instance (other than over print the product and hope that retailers will keep ordering it after it sells out). The license doesn't sell the property any more, but the license no longer sells on its own merits, either.

 

TRANSFORMERS: THE WAR WITHIN DF DELUXE HARDCOVER

RICHARD: You appear to have been integral in persuading certain studios and creators away from Image. Is it some kind of vendetta for you?
ADAM: It's hard for it to be a vendetta for me when I really have no relationship with anyone there. I would quite frankly be surprised if anyone there even knew my name, much less my role in the exodus. With Dreamwave, Image was just unable to provide us with what we needed in order to successfully publish. Certain policies hurt the situation, but I wasn't angry at Image for this. In fact, they made sense to me, It was a very large risk to go and self-publish, you're always told that it's suicide. We were able to turn it into a success story. After that, I became a bit of an expert on self-publishing, having gone through the whole thing in such a quick and successful manner. With Devils Due, I gave them a number of scenarios, and it just happened that when the decision was reached to leave Image, I had already gone through the EXACT process, so was able to outline it pretty easily. Same thing with UDON. Image is a create choice for a certain type of creator, but not others. Prior to a couple of years ago it was a matter of publish through Image, or nothing at all. The thing that I'm most proud of is that I've been able to help with creating choice in the industry.

RICHARD: There certainly seem to be more opportunities for studios to publish their work now... and that seems directly down to you. Do you see yourself as a troubleshooter? Hopping from company to company, fixing them then moving on?
ADAM: I don't see myself in that role long term, but it seems like in the past it's been that way. I just have a non-traditional skill set, and am able to adapt better to situations than some others. In the multimedia industry, changes are almost instantaneous. If you can't move REALLY quickly, you get left behind. Same thing with when I was a parts purchaser for computer service centers. Home computers are one thing, but when a bank system blows, you need to fix it NOW. High stress situations trained me to deal with things quickly, lest they become more serious. In the comics industry, I see my role now differently. I like to think of it more as a brain trust, if you will. I increase the number of choices that a company (or individual within that company) can make. After that, it's my job to decrease the number of ways that choice can go bad. It's all about working with the people who employ you, though. Without that, you're only temporarily fixing something, and it will go bad the instant you've left.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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